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Sound Bites - Issue #4 / December 2013


This Month's Topics:


Michelle King, Director Community and Contract Ed Michelle King, Director
Career & Contract Ed.

Happy Holidays & a “Living Well” New Year!

We at SMC Community Education want to wish all of you a very happy holiday season and thank you for your support throughout the year.

Getting an early start on our “Living Well” theme for the New Year, we offer in this issue of our newsletter two terrific articles from two outstanding instructors on staying physically and emotionally fit during the holiday season – and beyond.

If you haven’t already, we hope that you sign up for one or more of our 60-plus courses in a wide range of subjects we are offering this winter. We’re proud of the role we play in enriching the lives of our community, providing new experiences, and launching new and meaningful careers in a changing economy.

To register, call (310) 434-3400 or go to

Again, our sincerest wishes for a very happy holiday season and a fulfilling new year!

Michelle King
Director of Career & Contract Education



Five Tips to Eat Healthy For the Holidays

Vegie Shopping with Christine OppenheimVegie Shopping with Christine Oppenheim

Instructor Christine Oppenheim, who will be teaching an "Intro
to Healthy Eating" class in the spring, offers these tips for
eating well during the holidays.
Oppenheim is a plant-based
personal chef and culinary instructor dedicated to preparing
fresh, organic foods to satisfy all palates, with an emphasis 
on creating alternatives for common food allergies or

We all know that the holidays are filled with lots of temptations
and that eating healthy can sometimes be a daunting task. It’s
easy to overindulge when tasty treats are surrounding us at
every turn. However, with a few simple tips, we can avoid the
post-holiday guilt (and bloat!) and stick to eating healthy through
the season.

  1. Think before you eat - Eating isn’t a competition (unless you’ve entered one, and I don’t recommend doing that.) Don’t just rush through your meal. Take a moment to give thanks, whatever that means to you, before chowing down. Eat slowly, and chew your food well before swallowing. Take time to enjoy and savor every bite. You’ll eat less, experience flavors more and it will be easier on your digestion so you’ll feel less bloated and gassy after your meal.
  2. Scope out the spread - If you’re at a holiday party, do a walk around the buffet table before starting to fill up your plate. Decide what looks most appetizing to you and which dishes you’d prefer to pass on. Start your meal with lighter fare like fresh veggies, fruit and crisp greens so you’re starting to feel full before indulging on the heavier stuff. Use a smaller plate and take smaller portions. You can always go back for seconds of the stuff you really like! Plus, the less you eat now, the more leftovers later.
  3. Plan your eating for the day - If you know you’re going to be having an indulgent dinner, eat a lighter meal in the morning. Perhaps start off your day with a green juice or smoothie.  If you’re the one cooking dinner, lighten up the meal with simply prepared, but delicious foods. For example, try roasting green beans with shallots, instead of making a creamy green bean casserole. Make mashed potatoes with a 50/50 combo of cauliflower and potatoes. Puree them with vegetable broth instead of oil, cream and/or butter, and maybe even add roasted garlic and fresh herbs for extra flavor and flare.
  4. Eat before you shop - Unless you do all of your shopping online, you’re likely to end up at the mall at least once during the holiday season. While there, you’ll be tempted by samples of cakes, cookies and chocolates, the lure of lattes, and the scents of grease and stir fry. Eat before you head out to shop to avoid the unhealthy food court fare. If you’re shopping between meals, bring healthy snacks like grapes, crackers or carrot sticks so that hunger doesn’t get the best of you. Finally, plan your mall route so that you don’t pass by the food court or the Starbucks and you’ll be better able to fight any cravings by not allowing yourself to be tempted by them in the first place.
  5. Drink plenty of water - Did you know that water is great for battling cravings?  If you are craving something or feel a desire to snack, drink a glass of water before giving in to the temptation. Sometimes cravings are our body’s way of triggering that we are on the verge of dehydration, or that we need some comfort or distraction. If you still feel hungry after drinking a glass or two of water, go for that snack, but there’s a good chance you were just thirsty, or maybe even bored. For an added bonus, add a tablespoon of chia seeds to your water. These little superfoods are loaded with antioxidants and minerals your body needs, and because they expand in your stomach, they’ll help curb your cravings and will leave you feeling full.


Staying Physically & Emotionally Fit During the Holidays

Leslie PorterInstructor Leslie Porter

Instructor Leslie Porter, who will be teaching a Pilates class in
the spring, says it is important to be mindful of physical and
emotional health during what can be a stressful period – the
holidays. She has been a dedicated instructor and practitioner
of yoga, meditation, and Pilates for well over a decade.

The holidays can be tricky because there is so much yummy
food around. Even though it can be a joyful time, for some,
it can also be a very difficult one. Try the following tips to help
you keep your weight down and to keep your energy and
spirits up.

  1. Keep moving: I know that we all get busy with family time,
    cooking, visitors, etc. However, it is not an excuse to get
    lazy or forget your health. Make sure you are exercising:
    walking, practicing yoga or Pilates, running, interval training,
    keeping your metabolism up, especially the days after the indulging.

    You can even have your family members or visitors join you on your walks or put on music at your holiday party and encourage dancing. A study conducted by the U.S. government found adults gained, on average, more than a pound of body weight during the winter holidays - and that they were not at all likely to shed that weight the following year. The good news is that the people who reported the most physical activity through the holiday season showed the least weight gain. Some even managed to lose weight.”
  2. Set Boundaries – On your plate and with the company you keep: Be aware of your portions. We consume more calories on Thanksgiving than you can imagine. Average calorie intake at that meal alone is about 4,500 when you really (depending on your weight) need 1,300 to 1,700 a day. Isn't that crazy?! This doesn't mean you deprive yourself of treats; it means you modify the mount of treats you consume. For example, eat healthy 90% of the time. For me, this means I will be including more than yams and stuffing on my dinner plate and probably not go for seconds and thirds.
  3. I don't know your family. I know mine well and some of them really know which buttons of mine to push that drains my energy. I make sure I am taking space, breathing, meditating, connecting with nature, and connecting with people who do not drain me. If you don't feel comfortable, excuse yourself (maybe this is a good time to walk for a few minutes to do step #1). You may need to change the subject or say "No, thank you." It's the holidays, but it doesn't mean you have to be a doormat and to only give to others; it also means to give to yourself, and cherish your heart and needs.

    If you cannot relate to the above experience and your entire family brings you joy and no one drains you, enjoy them. What a blessing.
  4. Eat Fruits and Veggies: If your meal begins with crackers, dips, guacamole, and veggies, eat the veggies! You will have plenty of starch like stuffing and yams on your dinner plate. Eating vegetables before the meal will help you consume fewer calories during the meal.

Remember, you are a gift. Though times can be difficult, remember the things that make you happy and bring you joy.